One of my favorite photos from my recent trip to Tucson Arizona is from before I even arrived there. The picture above captures an amazing landscape I spotted somewhere in Arizona on our descent into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The photo is more compelling for it’s beautiful color, which is not a post-processing effect or intentional addition. It is the circular polarizing filter on my lens interacting in an unexpected way with the coatings on the plane’s window.
So much of modern photography happens in digital post-processing, where you can apply any number of effects, undo as many times as you like, and experiment endlessly without damaging the original photograph. All of that would have been impossible or prohibitively expensive in the days of film and darkroom photography. Taking advantage of today’s advanced tools is a natural progression of the art but it also feels like a perversion of the old technique. It’s nice whenever you can discover a natural effect, even if by accident, that allows a beautiful photo like this one to be produced with minimal digital manipulation.